The TV shows we watch as children can have a deep impact on our lives – and Nadine Löser is a good example of how that can happen! The graduate in hospitality business management fell in love with the world of hospitality through an American TV series about a Hotel in San Fransisco when she was 13. And no, it wasn't one of the charming hoteliers that drew her in, but the way guests were treated at the hotel. "When I saw this, I knew immediately that that's what I wanted to be doing", remembers Nadine, who is now 37 and part of hetras' implementation team in Munich. This interview will give you a deeper glimpse into Nadine's TV dream.
What was it about this hotel series that made the deepest impression?
Nadine: The professionalism of the hotel's management and the upheaval that seems part and parcel of running a hotel, and the creative way in which the hotel's staff dealt with it. It all looked like a lot of fun and a very satisfying job … Not only that, but the hotel was also very elegant and, more important still, the hotel's guests always came first.
Shouldn't it be perfectly natural for guests to always come first?
Although hotel operators are starting to change, their main interest in their guests is still often completely tied up with their need to collect data from them. While professional data management undoubtedly has its place, it should never be obtrusive or deflect from a guests' needs. My advice to hoteliers would be to re-train their staff and change their administration processes in such a way that guests always come first …
... and not, for example, have to wait until they get to their rooms to find out more about the hotel?
Exactly! And that information is usually provided in dated and dusty old information packs that I personally would ban. Guests should be provided with all of the information they need in person and not through some old and dusty hotel information pack – which really belong in the bin.
What else would you change?
I am not a fan of old hotels and prefer modern, bright and airy ones. I recently stayed at a hotel with virtually only a single power socket for my own use in my room. That meant that one of the lights had to go, because I needed to charge both my phone and laptop at the same time. General managers and hoteliers would be well advised to spend the occasional night in their own hotels, just so they know their own territory inside out.
Have you ever worked at a hotel that was inspirational to you?
Yes, and that was the Great Eastern Hotel in London's Liverpool Street. It was the first hotel that I worked at where things were being dealt with completely differently. And that didn't just apply to the hotels' guests.
What sort of things were they?
Staff were encouraged to reach their full potential and to contribute their ideas on how to run the hotel. This is the hotel where my dream of working with computers turned into reality. When I started, the hotel had 2 servers, and by the time I left, it had 9 and I had built the entire backend.
What made you switch from wanting to work in hotels to wanting to work in hotel IT?
Once I finally found myself working at reception, I quickly developed a new passion, and really wanted to learn how to set up servers, take apart computers and install software. I love technology and technology is something that continuously develops and never stops progressing. I gained most of my IT skills by attending evening courses in London, and the rest on the job just by being curious …
Do female techies inspire the same kind of respect as male techies?
Well, I'm not a techie, I only try to make technology work in favor of hotels. To start with, it was definitely not easy to get people to take me serious as an IT specialist. Especially so when it came to male hotel guests that needed help and particularly if they came from another country were women perhaps don't normally have jobs. However, I always had good experiences, even if some guests did a double take on being helped by a woman, but would then say 'thanks' with a smile and often even leave a tip. One of the things that was most rewarding was when the same guest would later directly ask for me.
Is it difficult for hotels to always stay abreast of new technological developments?
Not with hetras. hetras is completely different from ordinary IT systems and allows hotels to be much more innovative and guests to have a completely different guest journey.
You spent a full 12 years getting to know the London hotel sector and also worked in the famous Dorchester Hotel …
Yes, and one of my highlights from that time was managing and working with the E-Butler team and taking care of guests' technology. The job of the E-Butler was to ensure instant connectivity to the guest internet and the Interactive TV System. We were responsible for all of the guests' technical issues. Sometimes, that would just involve something as simple as connecting from a laptop and, at others, something more complicated like an E-Butler explaining the interactive TV system etc. So, even then, our main concern was to make guests' well-being come first and to take care of any technical issues they were having.
And so now this role is being performed by hetras?
Not only is technology becoming increasingly more innovative, but so are guests. This also means that guests are increasingly more independent and don't need any help. hetras is an interactive system that strongly supports this independence and is of particular value to hoteliers who really want to make guests' come first. However, E-Butler and Lobby-Host systems are still important and have a firm place in looking after guests, even if they don't need any technology support. They are here to improve the guest journey.
How did you find your way to hetras?
The traditional way, which is because of love ☺, which made me move to beautiful Bavaria, where I then looked for a company in which to further progress my technical expertise. Which is exactly what hetras allows me to do. Apart from that, I was also very much taken and inspired by hetras as a product right from the start, and really wanted to be a part of it.
This interview was conducted by Elke Tonscheidt, who also bloggs for www.ohfamoos.com.